The widespread adoption of generative AI and emergence of Web3 is fundamentally altering our social fabric and forcing us to adapt and innovate in response to new technology at an unprecedented pace. Whilst these developments promise exciting possibilities, there have been questions raised around its inclusivity, particularly for women and girls.
For tech to be inclusive, it must be by design and not an afterthought. In that sense, emerging tech is already behind the curve with a significant gender gap in Web3 where women comprise only 12.7% of the Web3 workforce, half that of Web2. Within the digital assets space, the representation is worse. Taking cryptocurrency as an example, female crypto founders comprise less than 5% of the industry. And we’ve all read about misogyny and unconscious biases fundamentally embedded in emerging tech: 96% of all deep learning AI technology used to create non-consensual fake images, called deepfakes, depict women. We must do better if we are to build a more gender equal future, and the time to put in the work to do so is now.
This is why TWF chose the theme of Power On: Beyond the Binary Code for our Gala Dinner this Thursday and are featuring three incredible women in emerging tech: Lucy Gazmararian, Founder and Managing Partner, Token Bay Capital; Jeanne Lim, Co-Founder and CEO, beingAI; and Tania Tse, Co-Founder, Sleek. Moderated by Praveen Choudhary, Managing Director, Morgan Stanley and Co-Chair, TWF’s Male Allies Leadership Council, these speakers will explore the key reasons why women are vastly underrepresented in these spaces and how we can begin to address the gap. They are also all pioneers in shaping how we understand and interact with AI, Web3 and digital assets and as the few successful women in their fields, their experiences and stories matter.
Through understanding the experiences of women leaders in these spaces, we can begin to parse out the pluralities of the female experience that are so vital to our inclusion and evolution. We can no longer be constrained to a binary definition where women belong or don’t belong, who we are as a gender and a sex and who we are not. Technology must be designed so that our identities and our ambitions can be recognised in their full measure of complexity, dignity and safety.
At TWF, we are deeply aware of the immense efforts needed to build inclusive technology and systems that enable everyone to co-create and fully engage with our digital future. This is why our Girls Go Tech Programme has been at the forefront of efforts to ensure that girls, particularly those from marginalised backgrounds, can become future leaders in STEM. We are also in the midst of developing a new workshop series that will focus on providing low income stay at home mothers with the confidence and skills, including tech skills, to expand their career options.
Our Male Allies Initiative has led the way in creating a community of allies that work to amplify and build gender inclusive workplaces and homes, and our soon-to-launch Young Allies Pilot Programme will take this work to the next generation, so that university age men are looking to the future with a gender inclusive lens.
To fully capitalise on the promises of these emerging technologies, we need to re-code the system into a gender equal and inclusive one. Join us.
Here are a few ways you can start diversifying emerging tech spaces:
For female tech leaders: be visible and vocal about your journey including challenges and key learnings but also the value you bring to this space to motivate likeminded women to join.
For women, educate yourself: consider taking hands-on digital assets classes or thought leadership workshops around genAI applications to learn more and meet others with budding interest in these emerging spaces.
For companies in these fields: be intentional about building inclusion and diversity into these spaces beginning with the composition of your own teams and hiring practices to build a more gender equal workforce. The time to put in the work to do so is now!
Get in touch at Fiona.Nott@twfhk.org.